Flea dirt is something that you may find on your pet and the untrained eye might not pick up on exactly what causes it, or what it is all together. Let me tell you right now, If you see these black specs which we call “flea dirt”, you have a flea infestation on your hands!
What is Flea Dirt?
Flea dirt isn’t really dirt and all it is actually dried blood and flea droppings. It is called flea dirt because it resembles small specks of dirt that it’s brown or reddish in color.
What Does Flea Dirt Look Like?
Often times with cats or other animals that have thick fur, you cannot actually see these brown specks because they tend to stay close to the skin and hidden. With animals such as dogs or ferrets would have been hair, you can see these reddish brown specks very easily.
In animals that have thick fur, you may be able to use a flea comb to try to bring some of this to the surface. Most often times if you are scratching your pet around their neck area, you will actually see this flea dirt accumulated under your fingernails.
The main tell tale sign that the substance is flea dirt as opposed to just regular dirt is that when you wash your hands the water will turn a reddish color, this is the blood being mixed with water.
Hot Spots For Detecting Flea Dirt
It is not uncommon for an animal to not exhibit the tell tale signs of flea infestation such as scratching and rubbing up against objects in your home. The truth may be that your pet does have a flea infestation, but it is not at the point where the animal is severely bothered. In these cases, you can look in the “typical” hot spot areas on your pet for signs of flea dirt.
The easiest place to find the dirt is on the stomach areas due to the fact that the hair tends to be pretty thin there and often times you can spot it with the naked eye, even without moving any hair out of the way. Also, with animals that have darker colored hair, you can see the skin more easily on the stomach.
One of the favorite places for fleas to hide on a cat is on the head just above and between the eyes. The hair is short there, so you can easily see signs of dirt. In my experience I have found flea dirt actually inside the ears or at the base ears. The dirt is very easy to spot because again, lack of hair.
What To Do When You Find Signs Of Fleas
At this point, it is a pretty sure thing that you have a flea outbreak on your hands. Don’t panic, it’s not as bad as it may seem. Many people, including myself when I didn’t know about fleas, seem to freak out and think that there’s no way to control a flea infestation.
The first thing you should do is comb your pet and get as many fleas off of them as you can. Secondly, I would wash every piece of fabric or blanketing around the animals sleeping areas, which includes your own sheets and materials.
Vacuum the floor as good as you can, this is very important. I have written a section about Using Salt To Kill Fleas that you can read. You sprinkle the salt on the floor areas and leave it set for a day or so, this is a natural way to kill fleas.
You should use a good flea shampoo to bath your pet. You will probably notice a lot of red water coming off of your dog, this is the flea dirt dissolving in the water.
At this point, you have killed a majority of the fleas, now it’s time to use something like Advantix, which is the number one flea prevention treatment.
It’s going to be an ongoing process for a few days to a couple of weeks. Just keep vacuuming and combing your pet, The Advantix will kill the fleas that do make it onto your pet. At this point also, it would not be a bad idea to use a flea spray to control the spreading of eggs etc.
The process isn’t the worst and doesn’t take forever. Just know that flea dirt is the first sign of a flea outbreak, and with the products I have listed above (which is a pretty standard set of products that people use), you can say goodbye to flea dirt and flea infestations in your home.